February 10, 2013

"Beginning in the first millennium AD, groups of Amerindians developed a political system, the cacicazgo, a pyramidal power structure headed by a cacique."

"Within Colombia, the two cultures with the most complex cacicazgo systems were the Tayronas in the Caribbean region, and the Muiscas in the highlands near Bogotá, both of which belonged to the Chibchan language family. The Muisca people had one of the most developed political systems in South America, surpassed only by the Incas."

In Colombia, today's "History of" country.


ironrailsironweights said...

Snow falls on the highest peaks, generally only at elevations in excess of 4,000 meters.


MadisonMan said...

My Aunt met her husband in Colombia. She was engaged, but that didn't last in the face of love-at-first-sight. My grandfather did a lot of work in Colombia in the 1930s and 1940s. But I've never been there.

edutcher said...


Anything like American Indians?

I worked with a great guy from Bogota when I was with the IRS, salt of the earth, although he was very much the antithesis of the machismo culture.

And a dead spitting image of Raul Julia.

caplight45 said...

Cali, Columbia has gone from being a drug cartel capital to a dynamically evangelical Christian city and a center of a prayer revival for Latin America and the world.

YoungHegelian said...

The quotation Prof Althouse uses in her post is marked in the wikipedia article as "citation needed".

That "citation needed" is, let us say, a masterpiece of understatement. Anytime someone writes that they have an idea of what went on in the Pre-Columbian Americas (especially thousands of years back) for anyone except the literate Mayans, Aztecs, or Incas, a huge dose of skepticism is called for.

Jose_K said...

In Latin America natives were called indians , Columbus tough he was in India ( he was headed to Cathay and Cipango). But well before the USa , intellectual took offense and they were called amerindios ,aborigenes or indigenas

Pre-Columbian Americas? Cabeza de Vaca , Luis Ramírez, Bernal del Castillo among other did a good work recording what natives said about themselves

Jay Vogt said...

Interesting that this wikipedia entry uses BC and AD as opposed to BCE and CE or the even worse BP.

Americans . . . give us enough free time an we can even fuck up a calendar.

Anthony said...

Bogotá is almost on the equator, is at 8,000 feet, and is protected from weather at sea level. As a result, it has perfect weather. It's 68 degrees *every single day*. It gets down to about 48 degrees at night. There's a light rain shower in the afternoon many days, but it's usually over by 3 or 4pm - if you work in an office, you won't need an umbrella.

Emil Blatz said...

Yeah, but nobody expects the...
Westminster Dog Show!

Monday, February 11
Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups
8-11 p.m. (ET) live on CNBC

Tuesday, February 12
Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, Best In Show
8-11 p.m. (ET) live on USA Network


Jeff Teal said...

Funny Being an Amerindian myself I was always taught that the cacique system was only used by certain Southeast woodlands peoples.Seems like way overstretching of available information.Of course that happens a lot in Amerindian scholarship-Ward Churchill wasn't really that far out if you believe some of the other myth writers out there.

Mitch H. said...

Jeff, the cacique system seems to be a Spanish interpretation of various local chiefdoms, tribal confederations, and pretty much everything that wasn't a centrally-controlled imperium like the Inca or the Aztecs. For one thing the chiefs or princes in Colombia were not called "caciques", that's a Spanish usage, taking the name for chief current among the short-lived Tainu and Arawaks and applying them in other linguistic areas. This is an apparent rather than real problem, semantics really, but it might cause a problem similar to an Anglophone taking the title "Chief" used among North American Indians, connecting it with the Gaelic usages, and start looking for nonexistent Mohawk or Cherokee "tanists". This wiki on the Muisca seems nicely specific and detailed, and makes the Muisca "confederations" sound fairly well-organized, and doesn't sound like they fell into the "palace economy" trap, but were still pre-currency, and obviously, pre-literary.

I find it amusing that that history of Colombia says nothing about the breakup of Gran Colombia, writing around it such that you'd think that modern Colombia is the same chunk of territory established by Bolivar and wosshisname, Francisco de Paula Santander.

ampersand said...

Christopher Columbus gets but one country named for himself,but that slick guido, Amerigo Vespucci gets two whole continents.

Mitch H. said...

ampersand, your mention of Vaspucci led me to go looking for biographical sketches of the Italian fifteenth century explorers, and I came across this hilariously inaccurate site, which I can only guess was created as a nasty little minefield of errors laid for lazy, careless schoolchildren not inclined to do their own research.